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Centre fails to whet Telangana fund appetite

Centre fails to whet Telangana fund appetite
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Telangana State has been left high and dry by the Centre as the State got not more than Rs 100 crore as grant in aid in the first quarter of this...

Hyderabad: Telangana State has been left high and dry by the Centre as the State got not more than Rs 100 crore as grant –in –aid in the first quarter of this financial year as against Rs 1,000 crore received in the same corresponding period last year.

The Telangana State has estimated Rs 29,000 crore as grant-in aid and also other contributions under various schemes from the Centre in the budget 2018-19 proposals. Last year, the Centre sanctioned Rs 8,000 crore as grant-in-aid to Telangana State.

Top officials of the State Finance Department said the Centre had released not more than Rs 100 crore as grants to the State in three first three months of the new financial year beginning from April 1. The State government maintained that the official reports clearly indicated that the Centre accorded priority to the BJP ruling States and election-bound States of Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh in the release of grants. The BJP ruled Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan States received more than Rs 3,000 crore each in the first quarter.

Official said that apart from the grants, the Centre also did not release any funds as its contribution towards the Centrally sponsored schemes. Under the core of the core scheme, the Centre is providing 90 per cent grant to the schemes like MGNREGP (Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Programme), the Women and Child Welfare schemes mainly ICDS (Integrated Child Development Programme) rural development, Minority welfare, SC, ST and BC Welfare Departments. Release of the funds to the core schemes (with 50 per cent Central funds) like National Health Mission, Pradhan Manthri Gram Sadak Yojana, National Education Mission, and infrastructure and road development in LWE (Left Wing Extremists) districts is also pending with the Centre.

While the Central authorities said the delay in the submission of Utilisation Certificates (UC) is the main reason for not releasing the funds, the State officials said the government had fulfilled all the norms set by the Centre to get the funds.

The delay in the release of grants by the Centre pushed the State into financial crisis as the State government diverted Rs 5,000 crore for the implementation of Rythu Bandhu scheme leaving the other departments deprived of the funds since the beginning of the new financial year. If the Centre did not release grants liberally in the second quarter, officials warned that the State will face severe financial crunch.

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